Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Sarah Calder is studying Civil Engineering at Warwick University and has been awarded a Surrey Scholar bursary by Bachy Soletanche Limited who have an office in Camberley. Bachy is one of the UK’s leading geotechnical specialists delivering all aspects of underground and foundation engineering – from light residential foundations to deep piles and shafts.

Sarah went to Graveney School in Tooting where she achieved 12 GSCEs in total, 3 A* and 9 As. She then transferred to Wimbledon High School for Girls where she achieved 3 A levels in Psychology, Maths and Physics as well as a German AS level.
Whilst she was in the lower 6th she was inspired to consider engineering by one of her teachers who had been a Civil Engineer. As Sarah had always been very interested in buildings and is logical she felt that this might suit her but before making a decision she took advantage of opportunities which enabled her to learn more about engineering. Through the Engineering Education Scheme she did a 4 month project for Balfour Beatty designing a crossing for dormice. She also took part in a week long residential summer school at the University of Surrey run by Headstart EDT (http://www.etrust.org.uk/headstart/courses#SUR ) which gave her an understanding of the different types of engineering.

Sarah started at Warwick University in 2011 and in the summer of 2012 she spent 8 weeks working for Bachy on site at the London Gateway Port in Southend on Sea, Essex. Her role was to support the site engineers who were working on the diaphragm walls and assisting with record keeping and testing samples to ensure that the structure was safe and rigid. Although the placement was hard work, involving 12 hour days, Sarah really enjoyed the experience and she gained a lot of experience from working with a wide range of contractors. She found that she was working in a mainly male environment and with many people who were over 10 years older than her but this did not cause her problems as she found that she was treated with great respect

Her experience helped with a number of her modules at University and she found learning in a classroom is very different from what happens on site!

The following summer she worked for 12 weeks in the Bachy design office in Camberley. This time her role was to design piles for use as the foundation for buildings. As she hadn’t yet studied Geotechnical  engineering in her course at University the staff at Bachy trained her and also showed her how to use the software. Sarah found this experience very different from working on site. This time she was working office hours and with the same people all summer - which gave her the opportunity to develop closer working relationships and taught her different communication skills.
Sarah feels that the Surrey Scholar Scheme has been really beneficial. The financial support has been helpful but she feels that the work experience has been even more valuable. This has benefitted her in a number of ways including when to ask for help and when to work out the solution for herself, She has also developed a network of contacts in the industry and started to build her reputation as well as having experience which will be useful on her cv. In addition she has developed an understanding of the companies systems and processes and started to gather evidence which she can use as part of her portfolio for Chartered Engineer status
Sarah’s advice to students who are still at school is to choose A levels in subjects that you enjoy and if you enjoy practical subjects consider studying at A level (Sarah regrets not signing Design and Technology). Engineering is very satisfying for people who are practical, logical and like seeing things from concept to end product.

She suggests that students considering studying engineering at University should look at the detail of the courses on offer and the proposed syllabus for each year. For those not sure about which branch of engineering then choose a course with General Engineering in the first year. When selecting a University go to the Open Days and ask how easy it is to swap courses – it may be easier to apply for a BEng and then change to M Eng. Her advice to girls is to ask what the male / female ratio
is and listen to the response to their approach (the ratio on engineering courses is often 1 woman to 10 men).

Friday, 26 September 2014

CASE STUDY - what SATRO's Scholar Scheme has done for me

What is your name?
Martin Blagoev

Could you confirm your job title and what your role entails?
I am a second year student and undertook a summer Placement last year and am just about to embark on a year’s placement with Tony Gee and Partners LLP.

Who do you work for and where are they based?
Tony Gee and Partners LLP are based in Esher.

What does the company do and how long have you worked for them?
Tony Gee are Civil, Structural and Geotechnical Engineers and I am just starting my year’s placement with them.

Prior to joining this company, could you provide a brief overview as to what you were doing before?
I am a student so have completed my A Levels and am currently studying at Bath University

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
Because the company is really large, there are around 20 students in Head Office at the same time so we are treated the same as the other members of staff. I have really been allowed to get involved in projects and because there are a lot of students, it has been less intimidating moving into the Company. I have been trusted to just get on with the tasks allocated to be and have been able to try things out for myself to see what works and what doesn’t. I felt as though I learnt more in my two month placement at Tony Gee and Partners LLP than I had in the first year of Uni.

What aspects have you found the most challenging and how did you overcome them?
The most challenging aspect of the placement was overcoming the worry that I had done something wrong! I have learnt to trust myself and to have the confidence to make a decision and go with it. When I first started I was spending time excessively checking things and was hesitant to put my views forwards but now I have senior engineers asking for my advice which has helped build my confidence.

In addition to relevant qualifications, what other skills or experience do you need to do your role?
Practical experience. The summer internship was really useful in this area so any opportunity to gain experience on how sites work, what actually goes on rather than just the theory will be beneficial.

How did SATRO assist you in becoming interested in this career?
I sent my details to SATRO when I applied for my Uni course and they helped me get on the Surrey Scholar scheme. This helped with sponsorship and provided me with the Summer Internship which has lead to my placement. This gave me a real advantage as some of my fellow students are still trying to find placements.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about this as a career?
Go for it!

A Level’s give you the theory but on a day to day basis, there is not much theory. Develop your own ideas and solutions for problems and just remember that there is no right or wrong.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


Today, SATRO are at West Ashtead Primary School delivering a SATRO Fun Maths Workshop. 180 pupils from years 3, 4 and 5 will participate. Pupils will be working in pairs and 3's to complete a range of mathematical tasks. The pupils will be able to see functional maths come to life and understand how it applies to the real world. The workshop will also offer an opportunity for the pupils to develop their team-building and effective participating skills.                                        

With thanks to Cllr Chris Townsend for part funding this event.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


What is your name?
David Hogg

Could you confirm your job title and what your role entails?
I run my own company called Horizon Imaging, offering architectural and low-altitude aerial photography services in the South East of the UK. Operating as a sole trader, I am the photographer, accountant, marketing and sales director – I have to do everything myself!

Who do you work for and where are they based?
I am based in Godalming, Surrey.

What does the company do and how long have you worked for them?
I started flying radio-controlled model aircraft in 1998 and since 2006 have been experimenting with taking aerial photographs using model aircraft. Around 2007 I set up Horizon Imaging (created a website, business cards, etc) and started taking on occasional commercial photo shoots for construction companies, hotels and schools. Since then I have achieved a degree in electronic and electrical engineering from the University of Surrey, and have spent 5 years in the engineering industry. In April 2014 I finally quit my last job and started running Horizon Imaging as a full-time business.

Prior to joining this company, could you provide a brief overview as to what you were doing before?
Before I went to University I took a 10 month ‘gap-year’ with Thales Avionics, a division of the Anglo-French engineering company which used to based in Raynes Park, London (now Crawley, West Sussex). During this time I helped out in their Hardware engineering department, testing new aircraft equipment, building cable looms and generally getting a feeling for working in the engineering industry. Thales then sponsored me for the duration of my University degree, providing financial support during term-time and 10 weeks of paid work during each summer break.

After completing my degree I joined Thales Avionics as a full-time employee for 2 years, working mainly as a Rig Technician. The most exciting project I worked on was building a mock-up cockpit of the Chinook Helicopter for testing a new suite of avionics instruments. I was involved with everything from designing and building cable looms to designing parts of the cockpit rig itself.

In 2010 I was headhunted by Blue Bear Systems Research, a small Research & Development company based in Bedfordshire, working on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). This was a fantastic job as it combined my passion for radio-controlled model aircraft, my hands on abilities in design and construction, and my knowledge in electronic engineering. I stayed with Blue Bear for 2.5 years, and my work mainly involved designing, building and test-flying UAS platforms and payloads.

What is the most enjoyable aspect of your role?
The most enjoyable part of my work at Horizon Imaging is receiving positive feedback from my clients. There is an indescribable thrill that comes from being praised for something you have achieved entirely by yourself – finding the clients, designing and building the aerial photography helicopter platforms, capturing and editing the photographs, etc. There are a lot of things to juggle when running the business, but it is this feedback that keeps me going!

What aspects have you found the most challenging and how did you overcome them?
Running Horizon Imaging as a proper business (and not just a hobby) has been a real challenge as there are so many things to do. However, I have received a great deal of help from the Government-supported StartUp Loans scheme. They provided me with a low-rate loan to help me buy the equipment I needed for the business, as well as connecting me with a dedicated business mentor who I can fire all my questions at! The StartUp Loans scheme also runs free workshops and events on the different aspects of running a business, such as cashflow management, securing additional funding, and marketing effectively.

On top of the help I have received from StartUp Loans, I have found the internet to be a goldmine of information for running your own business. There are many free resources such as LinkedIn where you can connect and engage with other professionals in your industry and ask them for advice and guidance.

In addition to relevant qualifications, what other skills or experience do you need to do your role?
Running a business requires many different skills. As well as being highly competent in the work you undertake (in my case photography), you need to know how to be an effective salesperson, how to deal with cashflow, how to advertise your services and how to manage your time effectively. These are all skills that I am acquiring / learning as I go along, mainly through the channels outlined in the previous section.

How did SATRO assist you in becoming interested in this career?
Whilst I am no longer in the engineering field as such, SATRO provided me with fantastic exposure to the engineering industry during my time at school, which ultimately led to my decision to study engineering at University and work in the engineering industry after graduating. During my time at school, SATRO worked with my sponsor, Rolls-Royce, to provide me with a valuable grant for the duration of my A-Level studies, and SATRO were also on hand to answer any questions I had about working in the engineering industry. They even arranged a trip around the Rolls-Royce gas turbine factory in Derby which was absolutely fascinating!

What advice would you give someone who was thinking about this as a career?
My main advice would be if you have a passion for something and you are very good at it, there is a good chance you can turn it into a successful career! Also I would advise researching all the support schemes that are available to you, be it the StartUp Loans scheme, or forums on the internet.

Ultimately, if you can provide a product or service of sufficient quality which people are prepared to pay for, and you are prepared to work hard to see your plans come to fruition, you have every chance of success!

Monday, 22 September 2014


Don't forget to book your tickets for the #SATROConcert on Saturday 18th October at Epsom College. In celebration of SATRO's 30th birthday, we have decided to organise an evening of 'a cappella', starring multi-award winning The Royal Harmonics, plus The Academix and special guest quartets. Tickets cost only £20 and include an interval drink, programme and piece of SATRO's birthday cake! Book your tickets now to avoid disappointment.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Carl Burrows Trust Student Rewards Scheme

Callum Gibbins, winner of
The Carl Burrows Trust Reward
Tracey Fantham, Headteacher at
Blenheim High School
& Nicky Burrows,
The Carl Burrows Trust
Nicky Burrows from The Carl Burrows Trust and SATRO’s Lucy Miguda were at Blenheim High School’s presentation evening yesterday. The trust has sponsored a reward scheme for students working with our SATROmobile programme. Nicky and Lucy were also there for the presentation to Year 10 student Callum Gibbons of the award – toolbag and certificate - for his achievement in our construction sessions. Headteacher Tracey Fantham spoke of how this recognition means so much to the students.


60 Year 5 & 6 Pupils from Sayes Court School in Weybridge formed 10 teams and took part in a SATRO Junior Business Game on Yesterday.  These groups consisted of mixed ability and friendship groups to emulate the real working world.

Judging from the pupil's feedback, they had a superb day which definitely opened their eyes to the world of business.  And, how important teamwork and communication are in an effective organisation.

The pupils thoroughly enjoyed the workshop and learnt about the hard work and skills involved in the business world. 

Many thanks to Cllr John Furey who fully funded this event.

Thursday, 18 September 2014


Mike Arrow is 23 and has worked in Guildford as a web developer since 2012 . He works for Minted Box which is a small company based on the Surrey Research Park in Guildford specialising in web development who work with a wide range of clients ranging from charities to top UK plc’s.

As a web developer Mike takes the designs for websites and turns them into reality for their clients. This sometimes involves working with colleagues to develop a detailed project plan to ensure that all of the pages on the site link together correctly. He learnt some code before he joined the company but has learnt many of the skills that he needs whilst working for the company.

Mike really enjoys his role and seeing the final websites up and running.  He particularly enjoys finding a way of solving problems when the sites are being developed.  Clients may want their websites to be used on a range of equipment and so Mike may need to adapt the coding to ensure that the website works on a variety of devices. One of the biggest challenges he faces is keeping up to date as both the technology and coding is developing very fast.

He thinks that web development suits people who are logical with an eye for detail and who enjoy systematically working through problems to find the solution. He found that doing IT at school and having GCSE Maths together with an understanding of algebra has really helped him as he frequently uses equations when writing code.

His advice to people considering web development as a career should have a go at developing a website for themselves using online tutorials to learn some coding. He used the W3 Schools website: (http://www.w3schools.com/  and suggested that it is worth developing an on line portfolio so that potential employers can see what you have done already. He also suggested that it is also worth asking about work experience to see what it is like to work on web development. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


Did you know, "A cappella" singing is the oldest form of music? The term refers to unaccompanied (ie, without instruments) choral or individual singing. Literally it is an Italian phrase meaning 'in the manner of the church' - a by-product of its liturgical development. However there are indications of a cappella singing in the archaeological record from over 3,000 years ago and it is certainly likely that some form of human vocal performance predates all but the simplest instruments

Come and see The Royal Harmonics on 18th October 2014 at Epsom College to help raise funds for SATRO in this our 30th year. Buy tickets here.


Around 130 pupils at Claygate Primary School will be enjoying a novel way of applying their mathematical skills on Today.  In a Fun Maths workshop they will be challenged to complete as many puzzles as possible within a time limit.  Working with a partner or in groups of three, the children will test their knowledge of addition, subtraction, sequencing, shape recognition, logical and lateral thinking.  They will also learn the importance of carefully reading instructions and understanding a task before tackling the problem. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

SATROConcert - Who is performing?

SATRO will be holding an 'A Cappella' concert on Saturday 18th October at 7:30pm at the beautifully historic venue of Epsom College. With only about a month to book your tickets, we thought we'd remind you of the fantastic talent we have lined up for performing on the night.

First up, we have The Royal Harmonics. The group are a multi-award winning ensemble, of which our very own James Dubois is a member.

"Our musical roots are in the barbershop style, and we are members of the British Association of Barbershop Singers (BABS). We are proud to have won the Silver Medal at the BABS national chorus competition in 2008 and 2012, and the Bronze Medal with our highest ever score in 2013. We present the best in popular music in our own close harmony, a cappella style."

Find out more about The Royal Harmonics on their website.

Alternatively, book your tickets here to see for yourself how amazing the group are!

Friday, 12 September 2014


Yesterday, around 120 pupils from Beaufort Primary in Woking took part in our innovative LEGO WeDo workshop. Pupils worked in pairs to design, engineer and program robots using LEGO bricks, a computer, a motor and other special elements. Pupils learnt to incorporate tilt and motion sensors into their designs. They then tested their initial designs and programming; after reflecting on what did or did not work, they learnt to consult with peers, adapt their programming and adjust their designs. With thanks to Surrey County Council for fully funding this workshop.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Tonight, SATRO is hosting an event at the University of Surrey to celebrate the hard work and achievements of some inspirational young people when we present the annual Surrey Scholars and Apprenticeship awards.  The awards, which will be presented by the High Sheriff, are attended by schools, colleges and businesses from across the Surrey area and celebrate achievements in science, technology, engineering and construction.

Our keynote speaker, Dr Matt Perkins, FREng, CEO of Surrey Satellites Technology Limited (SSTL), will talk about the future of the Space industry in the UK. During his tenure, SSTL has delivered substantial growth and produced possibly the largest cash spinout from a British University, guiding the sale of SSTL to EADS Astrium, the largest space manufacturer in Europe. During the last five years, SSTL's revenues have quadrupled and its staff numbers have doubled. SSTL has secured its two largest contracts including a flagship European programme (Galileo) providing the heart of the new European satellite navigation system and has continued its innovative business approach. SSTL continues to be the world's leading provider of small satellite missions and services. Matt is also the Chair of UKSpace, the trade association for the UK space industry.

Monday, 8 September 2014


Today, around 75 pupils from St Mary's Primary in Chiddingfold are going to be participating in our innovative LEGO WeDo workshop. Pupils will work in pairs to design, engineer and program robots using LEGO bricks, a computer, a motor and other special elements. Pupils will learn to incorporate tilt and motion sensors into their designs. They will then test their initial designs and programming; after reflecting on what did or did not work, they will learn to consult with peers, adapt their programming and adjust their designs.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

SATROConcert - Saturday 18th October 2014

Join SATRO for an evening of 'A Cappella' in celebration of SATRO's 30th Birthday. Performers include multi-award winning The Royal Harmonics. Plus The Academix and special guest quartets. The concert will be held at the beautiful and historic venue of Epsom College on Saturday 18th October. The evening will begin at 7:30pm. Tickets cost £20 which include an interval drink and a piece of SATRO Birthday Cake! Tickets available via eventbrite.co.uk

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

New member of the SATRO team!

Today, SATRO welcomes Lucy Miguda, who will become a member of the team. Lucy is going to be our Fundraising and Business Development Manager, whose main role will be to step up our fundraising for the 30k for 30 years campaign. We can't wait for her to become part of the team and look forward to working with her!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

CASE STUDY - Life as an IT First Line Support Worker

Interested in a career in IT? Have a look at this case study of a IT first line support worker at RAMSAC for advice and information about how to get a job in IT...

What does your company do?
RAMSAC is an IT outsourcing company. They provide a range of IT services for several hundred companies ranging from assisting with
technology projects to providing a helpline to provide IT support for RAMSAC customers.

What did you do before you started working there?
Charles went to school at St Johns in Leatherhead where he gained 11 GCSEs and A levels in ICT, design technology and biology and an AS level in Physics

What attracted you to this job?
Charles decided that he would prefer to get a  job rather than going to University because he didn’t want to get into debt.

He knew that he wanted to work in IT as he had always been interested in it and whilst he was at school he spent his spare time playing with IT and  looking at IT operating systems. He enjoys problem solving and working out how things work together and felt that a career it IT would suit him.  problems.

He spoke to some companies and was concerned that the knowledge that he would gain at University might be out of date by the time that he graduated as the IT industry is developing very quickly. He was also concerned about the debts that he would be left with if he went to University whilst an apprenticeship enabled him to gain experience and qualifications whilst earning a salary.

He found this job after going to an apprenticeship event at Guildford college and taking to a number of companies.

What advice would you give someone thinking about this as a career?
Charles feels that studying for A levels I useful because this helps to develop a work ethic and teaches you how to prioritise and take responsibility for your own work. The actual A levels are less important that an interest in IT  and how systems work although IT A level is helpful (but not essential)

Charles had the following advice for people at school considering their next steps:
·         Before deciding whether to go to University think what type of job you would like to do and talk to people who are recruiting for these roles to see what they are looking for – this could either be employers or recruitment agencies

·         If you are interested in the IT industry remember that it is developing very fast and so an apprenticeship may be a better option than going to University as you will gain the skills that businesses are looking for whilst being paid to do so and without building up a big debt.

Monday, 1 September 2014


After a truly glorious (and occasionally quite damp) Summer, it's time to go back to school!

For the SATRO office, the planning begins in earnest for booking practical activities to complement schools' curriculum. The SATRO calendar is filling up fast - we already have over 50 confirmations for events from Primary and Secondary schools for this academic year.

To ensure that you and your school don't miss out, contact us via email or telephone 01483 688070 NOW!